The San Francisco 49ers blowing a double-digit lead in the Super Bowl to the Kansas City Chiefs actually worked out for thousands of people. Hundreds of thousands of fans would have gathered in the Bay Area for a parade as a result just as the coronavirus was spreading.
A University of California-San Francisco doctor is arguing that fact and how it was good for the city. Dr. Niraj Sehgal, the Chief Quality Officer and co-lead of the UCSF Covid-19 Command Center, said he thinks a victory parade in early February would have helped to spread the virus.
“With apologies to the 49ers fans, the gift we may have been given was the 49ers losing,” Sehgal said. “If you think about what happened that weekend, had the 49ers won and there were parades and parties at that time, that may have had an impact that I haven’t seen actually described.”
“It’s a date that I will never forget, because the Super Bowl Sunday was actually the night that we stood up formally, our command center,” Sehgal said. “And the reason for that is another — again, it’s funny to call it a gift — the gift of we had, two of the first patients in the country that required hospitalization.
“And they arrived in the middle of the night, I will never forget sitting in that ambulance bay when those first two patients rolled up, a husband and wife who looked terrified because of everything around them. And it also forced our organization to kind of, we were in the game quickly and within five days we became the regional and national experts on how to do this, because everyone else was three to five days behind us.”
The Bay Area’s first confirmed case of coronavirus came on January 31, and the 49ers would lose Super Bowl LIV to the Kansas City Chiefs on February 2nd, which was the same day the U.S. implemented a mandatory 14-day quarantine for all American travelers from China.
The Chiefs held their victory parade on February 5th, but didn’t have their first case of COVID-19 until over a month later on March 18.
It may have sucked to lose the Super Bowl, but thousands of people are still walking the Earth right now because of it.